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MPs to launch inquiry into planned multi-billion Palace of Westminster overhaul

MPs are to launch an inquiry into the planned multi-billion overhaul of the crumbling Palace of Westminster amid concerns about the huge costs.

The chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee Andrew Tyrie said that insufficient evidence had been produced to justify the restoration plan, which could cost up to £4 billion.

Under the proposals set out in a feasibility report by experts, including consultants Deloitte, MPs and peers would have to move out of their familiar home while the work - expected to last five to eight years - is carried out.

Mr Tyrie said that among the options his committee would be looking at was whether both the Lords and Commons needed to "decant" from the palace at the same time, or whether the work could be done over a longer period with less disruption.

"The restoration and renewal programme is estimated to cost between £3.5 and £4 billion over five to eight years," Mr Tyrie said.

"Neither the report by Deloitte nor that by the joint commission provides enough of the evidence needed to come even to a preliminary decision on these proposals.

"So the Treasury Committee will attempt to collect some of it. This is why the committee has called for evidence on this massive, and hugely expensive, restoration project.

"The proposals certainly need thorough scrutiny."

A spokesman for the restoration programme said the proposals had already been subjected to detailed parliamentary scrutiny by MPs and peers.

"The Joint Select Committee on the Palace of Westminster was appointed by both Houses to consider the independent options appraisal (IOA), and its recommendations are still awaiting consideration," the spokesman said.

"It spent a year considering the options, subjecting them to rigorous scrutiny and commissioning additional work on options not included in the IOA. Their recommendations are due to be considered by members of both Houses in forthcoming debates, due to be scheduled shortly."

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